When I don't know how to do something, I study it. I've discovered in my studies of the past few years that there are many of us out here who are heart-centered entrepreneurs, creating purpose-based businesses. We want to help others, and to find ways to support ourselves and our families while doing what we're called to do. We're creative and inspired and passionate. This means finding what is known as one's "right livelihood." It also means finding new models of doing business, as the old ones just aren't a good fit for us.
But getting the word out about one's business still involves some form of the dreaded "marketing." The whole concept pushes my buttons a bit. It runs up against my long-held issues about being liked. I've released a lot of those concerns already, particularly as I entered my fourth decade a couple of years ago. Yet for some reason, selling my wares feels like a whole new level of vulnerability. I worry about upsetting my readers, my cherished audience, my "peeps." I don't want to be sales-y.
BlackLion and I are following the teachings of respected folks who teach about purpose-based business, like Christine Kane, Jonathan Mead, and Mike Dooley (we found some of Robert Kiyosaki's material interesting, but a bit too ruthless for our taste). We've been gradually working to build the trust of our readers and listeners over time, giving away lots of terrific free content, and creating products for sale that are targeted to the needs and desires of our niche audience.
Some people have told us that the economy just isn't good, that no one has extra money for luxuries like self-help kits. That may be true for some folks, and I certainly empathize, but it's not the whole story. Christine Kane herself, and many of her clients, are successfully making a living while helping uplift others so they too can live their dreams. We've learned so much from just the free material Christine Kane offers, and you can bet that when we have the spare cash, we're going to invest in her programs as well. We already have our own plans in place for how we'll continue to serve the community once our coaching services take off - a certain number of paying clients each quarter will be grouped with free and sliding-scale coaching that we'll make available. The plan is to make a good living in an ethical and caring manner.
Yet still I hesitate, which it comes to the part about asking folks to spend their money on us. It won't do any good to be well-liked if I'm out on the streets with no home in which to base my business - and those wolves seem to be getting ever closer to the door. In the survey we're doing, healing sessions are right up there in terms of valued services, yet I've had almost no response to my Reiki business. It really must be a matter of getting the word out more. If this sounds like I'm giving myself a pep talk, I am. But I'm not the only one who has these fears of self-promotion, particularly among the women I know.
I don't think Brent and I are overly pushy, and perhaps we're not even close to assertive enough. As the deadline approached for the initial discount we were giving on the 30-Day Core Belief Kit, I ramped up my courage and wrote direct e-mails to a few folks who I thought might really benefit from the kit. I was apologetic about even mentioning it, and one friend replied, "Whenever you worry about this, I hope you remember that some form of horn blowing is the only way to get the word out about this terrific resource."
I think people do understand that online contacts and social media are often used to promote small businesses. When I get free e-newsletters or read blogs, I enjoy the content, and the part where they make the sales pitch doesn't bother me. Many times I'd purchase the e-book or kit or whatever myself if I had the means. And I will, when I have the means. As Christine Kane points out, we're creating the new economy here, skipping the heartless big biz plastic products and selling to each other. Building ethical businesses, reaching out online, buying fair-trade and organic, shopping locally, and treating each other with respect. There must be room for positive marketing in this new, awakening world view.